Did you like building model airplanes when you were a child, perhaps dreaming of the day you could take a real version out for a spin?
A Sugar Grove company is offering people a chance to do something like that, as it seeks help buying a kit for a Van’s RV-12 sport plane, then building it.
SimplyFly, a pilot school, is seeking $50,000 in contributions via its Project Blue Sky Kickstarter campaign, which ends Nov. 18.
“Our whole company motto is sort of to make flying affordable and fun,” said co-owner Tony Sabos. Building a plane is a way to get people to learn about general aviation, and see if they might be interested in becoming a pilot.
Sabos said he did something similar in March with the Illinois Aviation Museum at Clow International Airport in Bolingbrook.
He estimates it will take about 2,000 hours of labor to put the plane together. The builders will be supervised by people who have built planes before, including Sabos and co-owner David Spano. “It’s not like we are just making it up as we go,” Sabos said.
“Building a plane is not just putting a bunch of parts together. Building a plane is epic,” Spano said on a video about the project.
There are several incentives offered to donors. For $25, you get a T-shirt or ball cap, For $750, you can be the first person to turn the engine on. For $6,000, you get flying lessons. There are also incentives such as having a sponsor plaque on the plane, or flying to Chicago for lunch or dinner, among others.
The flight school has been in business for five years, and is located at the Aurora Municipal Airport, off Route 30 in Sugar Grove.
The company would not be able to use the plane for lessons or rentals, because the FAA would categorize it as a home-built aircraft. But the company would display it at festivals and events such as Lisle’s Eyes to the Skies balloon festival, and Young Eagles days, Sabos said. Young Eagles is a program of the Experimental Aircraft Association, introducing children ages 7 to 17 to flying.
Eventually it would sell the plane and buy another kit for people to build, Sabos said.